Let's go back in time, shall we?
First we'll go way back, 12 years ago, when I bought a shiny newish Honda Civic, only three years old, with exactly 30,000 miles on it. To me this was a brand-new car, and I love love loved it for more than a decade.
Flash-forward to a few weeks ago, when said shiny vehicle began making its umpteenth kathumpa-kathumpa-kathumpa sound, and I said to Husband, "I'm due for an inspection, I don't even think I'm going to pass, I think it's time for a new car." He agreed. $u$an, our wise financial guru, talked to me about various (dreadful) financing options, and I began girding my loins for the distressing process of visiting car dealers and putting my feet in their stirrups.
Yesterday afternoon, I noticed that my right front tire seemed much lower than usual, so I asked the nice man at the corner gas station to show me how to put air in it. I apologized for being a dizzy girl who lacks this basic life skill, but he was very courtly and said, "We are always here and so happy to help you," which was very kind; I felt downright dainty and well-cared for.
Last night I headed out to zumba, but decided to look at my tire first. It was noticeably flatter. Clearly I have a leak. But it snowed in Boston yesterday; my driveway was pitch dark and slippery and lined with snowbanks; it did not feel like the optimal time to go messing with that tire-fixey spray stuff (do you know what I'm talking about? Mrs. Fog Dog told me about it and ordered me to get some; she is very bossy with me. And in my memory, I rushed out and bought two cans of it. Remember this, as it will be significant later). Note: Husband wasn't home, I had no alternate vehicle. Clearly I should not drive on the flattish tire. Clearly I should skip zumba and fix my car in the morning. Right?
Um, no. I made a different decision. Since the car will be out of my life soon ("soon," yeah, hear that? That's positive thinking), and I believed that I'd been driving on a flattish tire for a week or so anyway, I decided to do the 15-minute drive to Belmont, driving slowly (hush, Brunie), and avoiding potholes. Which I did, and all seemed to be well. Wellish. Semi-well. Whatever. I made it there and back and the tire didn't explode, I'm calling this one a win.
Then dawned the morrow. Mimosa and I had to be up at dawn to get her to choir practice. She has to be in her seat and ready to sing at the stroke of 7 a.m., and even though the high school is only a 10-minute drive away, you have to factor in time to scrape off your car (it's a New England winter and no one in these parts has a garage. Even people who have garages don't park their cars in them. Do not ask me why, it's just part of our culture. My California parents are simply gobsmacked by us), which I did not do last time and delivered poor daughter five minutes late. Her teacher, who is magnificent in many ways but is also a diva and a tyrant, called her out in front of the whole class and said that if she were late again, she would be punished. (Mimosa just told me this today; I'm going to sit with it for a while, rather than rush directly to the school and egg the Diva Tyrant's car. Maybe tomorrow.)
So there we were, scraping my ice-encrusted car at 6:45, and I remembered to check out the tire.
Flat as the proverbial pancake. Not low, not lowish. Flat. Utterly devoid of air. We're talking the Florida skyline here, people.*
But what could I do? We'd already scraped my car, we had to leave then to get there on time. (Husband's car, while present, was unscraped and encased in ice.) So I made Possibly Bad Decision #2 and drove my daughter to choir practice. We arrived at 6:58, other girls were being dropped off at the same time, if the Diva Tyrant says a single word I will do more than egg her car.
My tire was clearly in serious trouble at this point; pedestrians were stopping to stare. Smoke was rising. Terrible floppy sounds abounded. I limped my way to the service station just up the road and parked by their air-dispenser thingy.
Perhaps I should now further set the scene for you: When I rise at dawn to take Mimosa to choir practice, I do little to prettify myself beyond brushing my teeth. I was in my nightie. I wore no make-up. I had not brushed my hair. Underclothing was conspicuously absent. I had on a nightie, coat, and snow boots, and that's it.
I got out of the car and headed to my tire with great optimism, ready to fill it with air, then the tire-fixey spray stuff — and then, take on the world! Or something like that.
My tire was no longer recognizable as a tire. Instead, it looked like a large piece of rubber lace.
There would be no air added today.
And I checked my trunk for the tire-fixey spray stuff, the two cans I was sure I'd purchased . . . and they were not there. Oil and windshield cleaning fluid, yes. Jumper cables, yes. Bungee cords, an auto repair kit (another gift from Mrs. Fog Dog, she worries so about my safety on the road in the mean streets of Massachusetts), and a knitted afghan (in case I'm stuck somewhere cold waiting for Triple A), yes. No tire-fixey spray. (I think I gave it to Husband, actually.)
Anyway. The nice guy behind the counter allowed me to leave my car and said the mechanic would call me when he arrived at 8 a.m. And then I called Husband and stood on Mass. Ave., Greater Boston's main thoroughfare, in my nightie and bare face and underdressed nether regions, nothing to read, no coffee. Instead, I grew very Zen and gazed at the sunrise (lovely, all pink and purple and glowing gold around the edges) — and waited. I knew it would be awhile because, remember? Husband had to scrape off his car.
And at this point I simply had to laugh because, really, what else was there to do? Except sing, which I also did:
Got no checkbooks, got no banks,
Still I'd like to express my thanks.
I've got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night.
(KT, Inspirational Kathy, wouldn't you?)
All will be well. The mechanic took care of my tire and also did my inspection, which apparently I passed with ease. Husband dropped me off on his way to work, and I brought lots of things to read. It cost less than $150, and I've got another chore, January's car inspection, off my plate. And I was home by 9:30, where a pot of hot fresh coffee waited for me. I promptly grabbed my battered paperback of Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones and put it in my purse; I will never be caught without an emergency book again. And yes, I still need to think seriously about getting a new car, but I will take "seriously" over "urgently" any day.
And with the sun in the mornin'
And the moon in the evenin'
I'm all right.
I'm doing all right.
Life is sweet.
Love and kisses,
* Today's fun fact: Of the 50 U.S. states, Florida, Louisiana, and Illinois are the flattest. I would've guessed Kansas.
I would've been wrong.